MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has given provisional government protection to the parents of the 19-year old University of the Philippines (UP) student Carl Angelo Arnaiz who was killed in an alleged shootout with members of the Caloocan City police on August 18.
Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes confirmed Tuesday that the victim’s parents, Carlito and Eva Arnaiz, have been placed under the provisional coverage of the Witness Protection Program (WPP) on orders of Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
“Provisionally accepted na po yung parents ni Carl Arnaiz (in the WPP) as per instruction of SoJ (Secretary of Justice) (As per SoJ’s instructions, the parents of Carl Arnaiz are provisionally accepted in the WPP,” Balmes told reporters.
WPP is a program under the DOJ established under Republic Act No. 6981 or “The Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act”, which seeks to encourage a person who has witnessed or has knowledge of the commission of a crime to testify before a court or quasi-judicial body, or before an investigating authority, by protecting him from reprisals and from economic dislocation.
Aguirre on Monday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a parallel probe on the death of Arnaiz.
In his Department Order No. 576, the DOJ chief directed NBI Director Dante Gierran to conduct a probe and case build-up on the death of Arnaiz.
Aguirre already talked to the family of Arnaiz along with Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Atty. Persida regarding the investigation and possible charges to file against those men involved in the incident.
Carlito and Eva, along with the PAO chief, on Monday went to the DOJ to seek assistance for the immediate investigation of their son’s killing.
Acosta said they are still gathering more evidence before filing a case against the policemen involved in the operation.
She said initial investigation and forensic analysis contradicted the claim of policemen that Arnaiz was killed in a shootout.
Acosta said forensic analysis conducted by PAO showed that Arnaiz was tortured before he was killed, saying his wrists were swollen while his eyes were bruised.
His wrists, according to Acosta, also bore handcuff marks.
She said they are preparing the filing of murder charges against the two policemen before the DOJ.
According to the police, Arnaiz robbed taxi driver Tomas Bagcal along C3 Road in Caloocan and took the latter’s wallet before fleeing the scene.
The taxi driver, according to the police, sought their assistance but that Arnaiz allegedly fired at the responding policemen, prompting them to retaliate.
Police said Bagcal’s wallet was recovered at the crime scene along with some pieces of marijuana.
But the family of Arnaiz belied the allegations and called for an investigation into his death.
They recounted that Carl went out with a 14-year-old friend on the night of Aug. 17 to buy food near their residence in Barangay San Andres in Cainta but when he failed to return, they raised the alarm and started looking for him.
Arnaiz’s body was found by his family at Exequiel Funeral Homes in Caloocan 10 days after he had gone missing.